Dissident Postmodernists: Barthelme, Coover, Pynchon
Critics who hold that postmodernist art is essentially non-adversarial and apolitical, Paul Maltby contends, have ignored the historical context of the postmodern focus on problems of language. In "Dissident Postmodernists", Maltby examines a major current of postmodernist fiction that can be read as a dissident response to developments of late capitalism that have transformed the field of language and communications. Among Maltby's models of dissident postmodernist writings are "Gravity's Rainbow", "The Public Burning", "Snow White" and more recent publications like "Vineland" and "Spanking the Maid". In a series of readings, he examines the ways in which these works respond to the erosion of the public sphere, the elevation of functionalist discourse, the enlargement of the state propaganda network, the corporate management of mass communications, and the diffusion of concept-poor language forms which limit social understanding. Alert to such developments, Maltby argues, dissident postmodernists such as Barthelme, Coover and Pynchon write with politicized perceptions of language and a heightened awareness of language as a medium of social integration.
University of Pennsylvania Press
Maltby, Paul, "Dissident Postmodernists: Barthelme, Coover, Pynchon" (1991). College of Arts & Sciences Faculty Books. 57.